Roberto De Zerbi said on his hat-trick hero: “Ferguson can become one of the best, the top scorer in Europe…He can become big, big, big.” Newcastle three games without a win but Eddie Howe has called for calm
Evan Ferguson can become “the top scorer in Europe” according to Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi, who admits it would be “normal” if the club eventually sold him.
Ferguson became just the fourth teenager to score a Premier League hat-trick when dismantling Newcastle in Brighton’s 3-1 win. The 18-year-old has now scored eight goals in his last eight starts as Brighton looked to have unearthed another gem of a player.
De Zerbi said: “I’m happy for him [Ferguson] today, not just for the goals. Pleased for his performance, especially in the first half. He found the right positions. Newcastle defended 4-4-1, and there was space for him. He understood where the space was. He is working to complete his qualities.
“He can become big, big, big. His qualities are enough to become a great player. He can become one of the best, the top scorer in Europe. He was born in 2004, he’s 18. I don’t know how many players are young, that score like him.”
Outgoing players have generated Brighton £198.7m in transfer fees in this transfer window with three players departing for fees of £25m upwards – Moises Caicedo (£115m), Alexis Mac Allister (£55m) and Robert Sanchez (£25m).
When asked if big clubs will be looking at Ferguson, De Zerbi said: “It’s normal for Brighton to sell players. Important thing for Brighton is not to keep but to find the replacement. This is right work we need to do.”
Ferguson: It’s a good day!
Evan Ferguson speaking to Sky Sports:
“It is fresh so it is hard to take in as a kid you want to score as many goals in the Premier League, so when you score a hat-trick it is a good day.
“It is good [result], bad result last week [loss against West Ham] and we needed to bounce back we came out flying this week and we got that good luck in the end.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be offside or not, you have just got to try finish it.
“I think it is hard when you’re in training to position yourself sometimes you have got to try sniff it out.
“It is one of them you have got to ready for it at all times, first half I could have turned and drove a bit more so first one I got I tried to run at them and take a shot.”
Howe: Important not to overreact to losing run
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe said: “It’s a tough result for us. It could have been very different.
“In the early stages of the game we had some chances, we also had some other good chances.
“The first goal is always a key moment in any Premier League game and that probably dented our confidence, especially after last week.
“Not just the goal but the manner of the goal, it was messy from our perspective and from then on the game was probably not the game we wanted it to be.
“You can lose any game in the Premier League – we’ve lost three in a row and we have to take responsibility. Man City game was tight although we weren’t great, Liverpool we were excellent for a half and should have won and today hinged on moments. It’s important I don’t overact and the support meant so much.
“It’s never lost on me how difficult the Premier League is – it’s ruthless. If you sway your focus you have big problems. Our focus hasn’t been swayed, determined to be successful in the league. But we know the demands placed upon us will be extreme – this is a warning that we can’t be swayed in such a tough league.”